July 2014

Relentless: The Blog

Doing vs. Flowing


I woke this morning the way many of us begin our days, with a to-do list. My brain began to whirl with the tasks I needed to accomplish; the arms of time constraining the flexibility which I had to reach my various goals.


Which to tackle first? Internally, I created a very clear vision of how my day would progress and the order in which my list would gradually dwindle. I envisioned my sense of accomplishment growing as I checked off one completed duty after another. I instantly met with a roadblock, I didn't want to start with that which I deemed to be priority number one on my master list. Something else on that list felt more intriguing and appealing to me.


It was then I made the decision to not listen to my inner taskmaster, but to my heart and soul instead. Tackling was not the approach I needed, off with the helmet and shoulder pads, instead I needed to allow myself to feel.


My heart's approach was a whisper in my ear, not the barking of a drill sergeant. It was through my heart that my soul gently lead me through my projects, and my day, with delight. I flowed from one thing to the next, allowing myself to feel the gentle pull of what might bring me pleasure. I sensed the ebb and flow of each undertaking. As the energy of one project gently slipped away, I permitted myself to be carried into the next.


This wasn't a rigid schedule that enslaved me, but instead an allowing of myself. I still had the same list of things I'd hoped to put to rest, and the same time constraints, but instead of controlling the process, I took the time to ask myself a question as the energy of each job began to fade; what will bring me joy now? The next step was just as important, I listened, or rather felt, the response to that question.


My mind continued to interject, full of suggestions and justifications as to what could and should be next on my agenda. Its frenetic energy was fraught with pressure. My inner voice, however, hummed peacefully in the background and had only one goal in mind, bringing me happiness; and with that came an ease and lightness.


Obviously, we all have responsibilities to attend to in our daily comings and goings. I'm not suggesting we disregard our duties, only that as we analyze our list of goals we allow our spirit to draw us to that which will bring us pleasure and a sense of connection in that instant.


Having said all that, please don't pressure yourself to now incorporate the practice into your every day right off the bat. Again, pressure plays no part in this practice. Instead, perhaps you can allow yourself to play with the approach on a weekend or during a period of time when you might have more leisure. After a period of exploration, and understanding the voice of your mind versus that of your soul, brave a new frontier and attempt to gradually add it into your work day, or at least a portion of it.


If you get a moment, let me know how this practice is working for you, but only if and when you feel that gentle tug in my direction...


Be well and happy.

July 28, 2014

Spiritual Lessons of an iPhone


I never would have guessed my iPhone would be a source of some of my greatest spiritual lessons, or rather the opportunity to practice those lessons. No, it's not some new fandangled app that I installed on my phone. Oh, if only it were that easy. It seems my assignments began as soon as I realized I left my phone on the airplane I had just exited.


I was sitting on my connecting flight when it dawned on me that my phone was obediently waiting where I had left it, nestled in the pocket in front of the seat I had just occupied. Shock and horror caused me to gasp. Quickly, I sought the assistance of the flight attendant who then asked another staff member to assist me in calling the gate from which I had just arrived. Perhaps someone was still available,it had only been ten minutes, and they would retrieve my phone. No one answered.


My heart sank. My phone sat on the plane right next to the one I had just boarded. It would take me a minute to dash over to the first plane, grab my phone and proceed to fly the friendly skies on the next flight. Okay, maybe two minutes but it was all right there in front of me. Except, it wasn't. I wasn't permitted to leave the plane and the crew was not allowed to delay the flight for my very brief excursion.


Lesson #1: Powerlessness. There are some things we simply can not control.


Upon landing in my home town airport, I promptly completed the necessary paperwork to file a claim for my lost article. Only, it wasn't lost. I knew exactly where it was, but was now forced to fall into a system that purported the ability to discover my now hidden companion that had once connected me to the world, and safely return it to me from the great abyss of missing belongings that engulfed the airline. How my phone would ever make it out alive, I couldn't fathom. This required further action on my part.


And so, I returned home and began calling anyone and everyone that might be able to assist me in returning my phone safely to the palm of my hand. Determined. Relentless. Call me what you like, but I was persistent in finding my way through the red tape of baggage claims and various airport channels. I found a few people who were willing to extend their help and the parameters of their job description for my pursuit, but ultimately a supervisor came on the line and brought my operations to a screeching halt. The title she bestowed upon me was none of the above, but instead she labeled me and my calls an "issue". She assured me that the proper channels were in place to bring this tale to a happy ending. Cease and desist became my only option. My phone was at the mercy of others.


Lesson #2: Trust in others to meet my needs.


While I've yet to discover the whereabouts of my abandoned phone, the one thing I have learned is that this elaborate network, in which I am now immersed, has no urgency; except in the minds of those of us seeking resolution. My newly designated role in this labyrinth? I was granted permission to wait. There my friends, is the next lesson.


Lesson #3: Patience. I could not force anything to move at the pace which I desired. All in due time, as they say.


Those are some tough lessons, folks, none of which I believe can be patented by Apple. How I got to understand what it was I was meant to learn was through no small effort on my part. Again and again, my mind attempts to pull me back to the frustration, anxiety and fear. Again and again, I pull my focus back to the key lessons of powerlessness, trust and patience. And again...


This story has yet to come to an end but when it does, I will have been gifted with the opportunity hone my spiritual muscles and practice. Your days are not much different than mine. Do you choose the drama that unfolds in life's day to day events or its lessons to be foremost in your awareness?


Be well and happy.

July 21, 2014

Apology Accepted


After reading my last blog, one might observe that I offered my experience and insights to another that was struggling, in the hopes that I might be of service. While that is accurate, what lies beneath is an even greater and more personal truth for me.


I replayed the conversation with my fellow mom numerous times in my mind. I kept hearing it, but it wasn't about until a week later that I actually listened. I pondered the purpose of rehashing this exchange. I began to realize that a question was being posed to me: How had I  benefited from that interaction? How had another served me?


My answer was received quite swiftly, as I again heard the words offered to me after I had shared that I too had a childhood of abuse. The words that were spoken? "Oh, I'm so sorry." Quite simple, really. I had heard them before from others, also given in response to their learning of my past traumas. And each time I heard them, I treated them as the simple phrase they were. I viewed them as the polite thing to say in our society, nothing more.


But this time, I knew I was asked to approach them with a different mindset. I took the challenge and permitted myself to feel those words, listening this time with my heart. Truthfully, it was a phrase I longed to hear from my abusers most of my life, a simple apology. They have proven incapable of fulfilling that need for me, but the words were being offered to me nevertheless. That it was someone unrelated to my abuse suddenly lost all importance, just that it was someone and their words conveyed that they cared.


In offering that simple phrase, she bestowed upon me the gift I had so desperately desired,that another understood I wasn't deserving of what had transpired in my youth; it wasn't my fault. My heart swells with gratitude and my eyes fills with tears as I welcome this present and allow it to add yet another level to my healing. If, and when, the time comes that those words are spoken to me once again, I intend to honor them and not dismiss their importance or my deservedness to receive them.


What gifts are being stowed upon you today that perhaps you've overlooked out of habit, and are you going to allow them to be your healing balm? Listen, and more importantly, feel the offerings of your day.


Be well and happy.

July 14, 2014

The Past is Present


While attending one of my youngest son's school functions, another mom began sharing some of her own family background with me. Foremost in her mind was her adult niece who had filed charges against her father for the sexual abuse she endured as a child. She asked in wonder if I could imagine what it must be like to live as a young girl being sexually abused. I had a split second to make my decision, to step out of the the role and perceptions she had of me, or share one of my deeper truths. I chose to share a portion of my truth and respond with indeed I did know what it was like, no imagination required, for I had suffered abuse as a child. It wasn't the response she anticipated, but it did allow her to ask how she might support her niece. Through my honesty I had now become a resource for her.


Among several things, I strongly suggested that she encourage her niece to seek counseling. She relayed that the young woman was "in and out" of therapy because "she didn't want to deal with it". I later took some time to share with her in a follow up email how important it is for us to address our wounds and traumas. While on the surface this conversation was addressing an abuse victim, the cure applies to us all. Many of my clients express fear that looking at those issues anew will overwhelm them and more importantly they wonder, "What is the point of rehashing the past? It won't change anything."


My response to them, whether they're dealing with abuse issues or not, is the same every time. You are already dealing with it, just on an unconscious level. The past is already present in your life today, and until we take the time to take an honest look at its effects on our lives, it will become our driving force. Experiences, emotions and wounds that were never allowed to process and heal remain ever present in our being, seeking channels for release and transformation. If we never allow them expression they continue to build energy and momentum, making themselves known in all our relationships and interactions. In order to be free of our past, and live more fully in the now, we must first give it a voice.


In the instance of this young woman dealing with abuse, avoiding therapy is akin to allowing her father to continue to abuse her own some level. Permitting that past to sit there unresolved is continuing to give him power over her and the remainder of her life. And while many of you reading this may not be able to relate to a history of abuse, you do have a history that is worthy of examining in order that you might know and understand yourself better and more deeply.


I encourage you all to seek a means of consciously delving into your past in order that your power, light and truth might be revealed, no longer concealed by the debris of our yesterdays. This will look and manifest differently for each one of us, the "how' isn't important but the "doing" is. Truly, it won't change the past but it just might change your future.


Be well and happy.

July 3, 2014

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